May 5, 2021
  • May 5, 2021

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Gov Obaseki lies over claims on printing money to share to states ~Finance Minister

The federal government has debunked claims by the Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) resorted to print between N50 billion to N60 billion to augment revenue sharing for the three tiers of governments in March.

According to the Minister of Finance and Budget, Zainab Ahmed, there was no truth in the claim by the Obaseki.

Describing the governor’s claim as very sad, the minister explained that the money being shared monthly at Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) meeting is revenue generated.

While answering questions from State House correspondents on Wednesday after the weekly cabinet meeting, the minister said Obaseki’s claim was not factual.

She described revenue distribution as public information that is available to all.

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The minister also faulted the governor on the alarm raised on the country’s borrowings.

She insisted that the nation’s debt profile is still within sustainable limits.

“The issue that was raised by the Edo State Governor, for me, is very sad because it is not a fact.

“What we distribute at FAAC is revenue that is generated and in fact, distribution revenue is public information.

“We publish revenue generated by FIRS, the Customs, and the NNPC and we distribute at FAAC.

“So, it is not true to say we printed money to distribute at FAAC. It is not true,” the minister said.

On the issue of borrowing, the minister added, “Nigeria’s debt is still within sustainable limit.

“What we need to do as I have said several times is to improve our revenue to enhance our capacity to service, not only our debt but to service the needs of running government on a day-to-day basis.

“So, our debt currently at about 23 percent to GDP is at a very sustainable level, if you look at all the reports that you see from multilateral institutions,” Ahmed stated.

Obaseki was last week quoted as raising the alarm over Nigeria’s financial position which he said made the CBN print about N60 billion to augment allocation shared by states in March.

“When we got FAAC for March, the Federal Government printed additional N50-N60 billion to top-up for us to share.

“This April, we will go to Abuja and share. By the end of this year, our total borrowings are going to be within N15-N16 trillion,” Obaseki had lamented.

Reports, however, showed that the federal government is indebted to the CBN to the tune of N11 trillion in Ways and Means advances.

The government is already proposing to covert the Ways and Means advances, which is a euphemism for printing naira notes to cover government deficit spending, to long tenor securities.